Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Can Tech-Savvy Activists Change Mexico's Presidential Elections?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 28 2012

Student-led protests in Mexico organized around the #yosoy132 hashtag. Photo: MaloMalverde

The Mexican presidential campaign wrapped up today ahead of elections this weekend in which the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the party that once held a vicelike grip on power in the United States' southern neighbor, is widely expected to put its candidate into executive office in its first presidential victory since 1994.

The campaign is widely viewed as a triumph of old power over new. Activists in Mexico are outraged at what they say is preferential treatment given to the PRI's candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, by leading television network Televisa. The Guardian reported earlier this week that a "secretive unit" within Televisa was charged with pushing out material supportive of Peña Nieto and PRI and attacking his opponents. Meanwhile, nascent protests from students organizing themselves in the model of the Spanish Indignados or the United States' Occupy movement are self-consciously reaching for the mantle of populist upswell in the hopes of swaying the election away from the PRI's control.

Is this moment a fulcrum for the scales of power in Mexico? Is it fair to say these Internet-powered student protesters are on one side of that balance beam? And if so, which way is it swinging?

Those are the questions I explored earlier this morning with the help of two guests: Diego Beas, a columnist for Reforma and a keen observer of technology's role in politics throughout the Americas, and Andrés Monroy-Hernández, a post-doctoral researcher at Microsoft Research and a fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Both have been following Mexico's presidential elections closely, and both have the tech background necessary to understand and explain the role of networked politics in this election, but the two have very different perspectives on whether the student protesters are getting anywhere.

Here's our conversation, which doubled as techPresident's first-ever test of Google Hangout as a content format:

Personal Democracy Media is thankful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

In China, Local Governments Play Whac-a-Mole With Taxi Apps

It seems these days that car-hailing apps exist only to give cities grief. In New York, car sharing start-ups like Lyft ignore labor, safety insurance laws and in China, the situation is no different except in one regard: taxi hailing apps in China are proliferating at a faster rate than in the U.S. In China, however, the taxi system is very much in its infancy and local Chinese governments are struggling to control the proliferation of new apps that flout the law. GO

thursday >

The Uncertain Future of India's Plan to Biometrically Identify Everyone

Since its launch in 2010, people in India have raised a number of questions and concerns about the Aadhaar card —formally known as Unique Identification (UID)— citing its effects on privacy rights, potential security flaws, and failures in functionality. GO

More